The core strength of Worker Power is our ability to educate, mentor and train a diverse team of working people to affect positive socio-economic change on a local, state, and national level. Our workers become future community leaders who help their coworkers, neighbors, and friends learn to strategize and execute our campaigns. We are proud of that track record and equally proud of the diversity of leaders developed through our programs and campaigns.
Our current and former staff include grassroots organizers, elected leaders, and social justice advocates. We are proud to have former Worker Power organizers Athena Salman, who is serving her fourth term in Arizona’s House of Representatives, and Phoenix City Council member Betty Guardado, a former hotel housekeeper and UNITE HERE Local 11, carry the mission of Worker Power with them in their work as elected officials.
Worker Power continues to expand its leadership pipeline, providing a path for working people from all ages and backgrounds to become leaders on the front lines of the fight for social justice in Arizona and beyond.
In 2022, Worker Power Institute created the Worker Power Campaign School, a free, month-long in-residence training program dedicated to educating the next generation of organizers who will run strong field campaigns rooted in the best traditions of union organizing and non-violent direct action.
Our first cohort of fifteen students included diverse candidates with beginner-level experience in field canvassing or activism. Many were immigrants from Latin America, refugees from Africa, recent college graduates, and formerly incarcerated individuals. At least one entered the program, having recently experienced homelessness.
Campaign school students participated in a pair of two-day intensive organizer training workshops conducted by experienced union and community organizers. They received classroom instruction on the economics of oppression, the history of racism and civil rights struggle in the United States, and the function of labor unions in advancing working and living standards for working families in the United States and beyond. Their classroom work was complemented by extensive field canvassing and intentional mentoring.
The results of Worker Power’s first Campaign School were a resounding success. Every member of the initial Worker Power Campaign School Cohort served in a leadership capacity in Worker Power’s voter engagement campaigns in 2022. Six are currently serving as full-time organizers or support staff with Worker Power, and five are UNITE HERE members from Local unions in Los Angeles, San Jose, and Chicago who have taken their skills back to the workplace where they will be better able to advocate for themselves and their coworkers.
We look forward to repeating this success annually.
New Voter Engagement
Since 2008, Worker Power Institute has worked on increasing the political participation of young people and voters of color in the interest of creating a government that will improve the lives of working families in Arizona.
Since 2012, Worker Power has enrolled over 100,000 voters into Arizona’s permanent vote-by-mail list, many of them BIPOC and youth voters. That work has significantly increased voter participation among underrepresented communities in federal, state, and local elections.
In 2022, our voter registration team collected more than 12,000 voter registration applications – with nearly all of the applicants opting into Arizona’s vote-by-mail list. Much of our success came in registering students at community college campuses across greater Phoenix and neighborhoods with historically underrepresented communities.
In 2024, Worker Power Institute will seek to double our voter registration capacity as we expand beyond Maricopa County to other central and southern Arizona areas.
As an organization dedicated to preserving democracy in the United States, Worker Power Institute plays an important role in Arizona's fight for economic, social, and racial justice. We do so by training and organizing working people, most of them people of color, immigrants, refugees, and young people, to advocate for their communities through civic and policy engagement efforts.
Since our inception in 2008, Worker Power Institute has advocated for immigrant rights, just economic policies, and voting rights. And we have successfully fought for quality jobs, increased safety measures, and higher minimum wage for thousands of service workers in Phoenix.
Over the last several years, democracy defense has been a central feature of the Worker Power Institute's work. Our most expansive effort came in 2021 when we aggressively campaigned for federal voting rights legislation. Our organizers, volunteers, and community partners mobilized thousands of constituents to urge Senator Kyrsten Sinema to reform the filibuster to pass federal voting rights legislation. We also held community forums with hundreds of participants, organized a Freedom Ride for Voting Rights to Washington D.C., and led a civil disobedience action at Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office when a lawsuit he pursued to the U.S. Supreme Court contributed to the dismantling of the protections created by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Worker Power Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Tax ID: 26-1689914. | 1021 S. 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007